Toby Willis was featured in the short-lived TLC reality show “The Willis Family.” This Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to four counts of child rape and was sentenced to a total of 40 years in prison.
According to the Tennessean, Willis was arrested after trying to flee justice last September and was charged for the rape of a “9-to 12-year old girl” that took place about 12 years ago.
Cheatham County Circuit Court Clerk Julie Hibbs confirmed that Willis received two 25-year sentences on two counts and two 40-year sentences on the other two. Those sentences will be concurrent, and served at 100 percent, giving Willis a total of 40 years in prison.
Willis, his wife, Brenda, and their 12 children gained fame after they appeared on Season 9 of America’s Got Talent in 2014. The Willis family performed under the name “The Willis Clan” and were frequently compared to a “modern-day Partridge family.” After they landed their own show on TLC, it was canceled after two seasons. In the wake of the charges, the show has been entirely scrubbed from all the TLC’s media platforms.
In a statement released by their attorney, the family said they were grateful for the “the outpouring of love and support during this most difficult year.”
“Additionally, the Willis family would like to thank the many members of law enforcement for their detailed and comprehensive investigation of this matter,” the statement continued. “Finally, the family would like to thank the District Attorney’s office for their diligence and sensitivity in the handling of this case. The family has remained fully cooperative throughout the investigation. Although the criminal case has concluded with Toby Willis receiving 40 years for the crimes he committed, the impact on the victims will remain much longer. The family is appreciative and grateful that people have respected their need for privacy during this trying time and asks for continued respect as they seek to move forward.”
Featured image via YouTube/Tennessean